Books: UNACCUSTOMED EARTH by Jhumpa Lahiri

Title: Unaccustomed Earth
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
Genre: Fiction
Published: 2008

Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth is a collection of short stories told from the perspective of different characters, all of Indian origin carving out their lives in the US. The first part of the book is a collection of five different stories, all relating the varying experiences; from the parents – arriving in the US to a world wholly different to what they know;  to their children- born in the US to Indian parents, and struggling with their own identities and the juxtaposition of their origins and their citizenship.

Books: ONE THOUSAND WHITE WOMEN – The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus

Title: One Thousand White Women : The Journals of May Dodd
Author: Jim Fergus
Genre: Fiction
Published: 2011

This book is a fictional book that is so well-researched and written that I had to keep checking whether it was in fact not based on actual records. It is about the the exchange of one thousand white women as brides for Native American men by the American government in the 1800s, in the years immediately prior to the gold rush.

Post-rentreé funk

I have been caught up in a post-rentrée funk that I’m trying to shake myself out of. The vacances came and went in a bit of a blur. I am now trying to fall into a rhythm as the weather slowly changes from warm and balmy, to chilly and grey. My new mantra for this year: Write.…

Books: THE No.1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY by Alexander McCall Smith

Title: The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Published: 2008
Genre: Fiction

This was a joy to read, and I wonder why it has taken me so long to read the Ladies’ Detective Agency series. This debut to the immensely popular series is fast-paced and funny- and for a Southern African, the writing style and vocabulary were elements I could completely relate to. McCall Smith writes in a vernacular form which made my enjoyment of the book much richer.

Books: SIXTY MILLION FRENCHMEN CAN’T BE WRONG by Jean-Benoit Nadeau & Julie Barlow

Title: Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong
Authors: Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow
Published: 2003
Genre: Memoir

This is one of those books I pick up once in a while when I am astounded by how much I still do not understand about the French. Just when I think I get them, and I think – yes they are different in this way, or that – something happens and I am yet again drawn to some form of theory that will  help me understand the people of my host country.

Books: THE SENSE OF AN ENDING by Julian Barnes

Title: The Sense of an Ending
Author: Julian Barnes
Published: 2011
Genre: Novel

The Sense of an Ending is similar to the The Remains of the Day, which I read a month ago. Memory, reflection and the crafting of a story that begins with a mystery. I read and finished it in a fairly short time but the layers of interpretation to the story will probably require a second reading. It’s about Tony Webster, a man well into his sixties who is now divorced and leads a quiet, if unexciting life. He is mysteriously bequeathed a journal from a school friend – and this sends him thinking back to his years at school when he met the charismatic Adrian Quinn; who was a mystery to them even back then.

Canal cruising in Paris

It was definitely not as interesting as the Seine cruises are, but it was good to learn about the Paris canals. We boarded the boat at Parc de la Villette – mistakenly thinking the boat would return there after the cruise. Note: It is a one-way trip between Parc de la Villette and  Musee d’Orsay. It ended up being a long day after that because we’d left the car at Parc de la Villette.
There were parts of the cruise that were interesting along Canal St. Martin, like seeing the urban regeneration happening along the canal in the 19th arrondissement.